CRESC Algarve 2020 allocated 4,4 million euros in European funds to ecovias in the Algarve

Total investment amounted to 6 million euros

The Algarve had around 4,4 million European funds from CRESC Algarve 2020 to co-finance the first part of the construction of the Algarve's three regional cycle paths, works that, in total, cost around 6 million euros.

The Ecovia/Ciclovia da Costa Vicentina, the Ecovia/Ciclovia do Litoral Sul and the Ecovia/Ciclovia da Rota do Guadiana, are infrastructures of this nature planned for the Algarve, connecting, respectively, Odeceixe to Sagres, Sagres to Vila Real de Santo António and this city is Alcoutim.

«These Regional Cycle Path networks integrate international networks and continue an urban cycling network crossing and connecting the main regional urban centers and are configured to accommodate daily commuting, mainly for school and work, but also for commercial reasons , leisure and others", according to the Algarve Regional Coordination and Development Commission, which managed CRESC Algarve 2020.

Ecovia/Ciclovia do Litoral Sul and Ecovia/Ciclovia da Costa Vicentina, which are part of the European Cycle Network, EuroVelo routes, received 3,9 million euros of support from the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), through the CRESC ALGARVE 2020 Operational Program.

«Intended for the practice of Cycle Tourism throughout the European continent, but also a good alternative for daily mobility and for leisure for local use, the EuroVelo routes have 14 long-distance cycling routes crossing the entire European continent, with a total length of 70.000 kilometers in 42 countries”.

The Ecovia/Ciclovia do Litoral Sul goes from Sagres to VRSA, crossing the 12 municipalities of the South Coast of the Algarve and 9 of the 11 cities in the region, over a length of approximately 250 kilometers. It received financing of 2,5 million euros from the Investment Priority (PI 4.5) of the Regional OP (2014-2020)».

This network connects with the Guadiana Route, «through which it is now possible to reach Castro Marim, with only 5 kilometers remaining, until the beginning of the Bridge over the Guadiana River on the border with Andalusia, which allows its continuity to the country neighbor.

These improvement works were the responsibility of the local authorities and coordinated through a partnership model between the Algarve PO Management Authority (CCDR Algarve), Turismo de Portugal (TP) and AMAL (Algarve Intermunicipal Community), with financing available combined between support from ESI Funds and financing from Turismo de Portugal.

By the end of the current Programming Period, around 74 kilometers of the approximately 250 total will be completed, which represents approximately 1/3 of the total route, with the remainder expected to be fully executed during the duration of the Algarve 2030 Regional Program .

Ecovia da Costa Vicentina has funding from the PO approved in PI 6.3 and from Turismo de Portugal through the Valorizar Program. It is currently underway in the municipalities of Vila do Bispo and Aljezur. Of the 108 km, this Ecovia has completed 92 kilometers, around 85% of the route completed. The route that directly connects Alentejo (in Ribeira de Odeceixe) to Sagres (around 91 kilometers) will be completed.

In the municipality of Vila do Bispo, the ecovia has a total length of 24 kilometers, divided into 3 sections (Limit of the Municipality of Aljezur/Vila do Bispo – Praia da Cordoama; Praia da Cordoama – EN268); and Cabo de S. Vicente – Sagres. In Aljezur, it covers a length of 60 km, divided into 13 sections between Odeceixe and the limit of the Municipality of Vila de Bispo (EN 268). Altogether, this is a total cost of 2,6 million euros, with an eligible investment of 1,9 million euros, 70% reimbursed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

«This Southwest cycle path is a structuring project for the municipalities of Vila do Bispo and Aljezur from the point of view of mobility and the attractiveness of the territory. It will provide these two municipalities with an infrastructure capable of enhancing the sustainable development of a tourist offer based on the valorization of natural heritage, enhancing the attractiveness of the territory and the Cycling & Walking product. It allows smooth mobility between the various locations along this Costa Vicentina Axis and contact with nature in the Southwest Alentejano and Costa Vicentina Natural Park in the Algarve Region», according to CCDR Algarve.

The Ecovia do Guadiana, a project «with much less maturity in terms of the development of preparatory studies, only has a “Master Scheme”, a draft layout, carried out in 2006, and does not yet have any Preliminary Studies or Execution Projects».

Within the scope of the Algarve 2030 Regional Program, which is already underway, «it is also planned to implement the main priorities of urban cycling networks in each Urban Center/Municipality in the Region. To this end, Municipalities must develop an Urban Cycling/Active Mobility Action Plan, where the main corridors of pedestrian and cycling connections will be identified and mapped, between the main traffic generating points of each Urban Center organized by priorities, depending on the degree of maturity, with an indication of the respective estimated budget and expected timetable, in order to allow for its implementation in phases, section by section, throughout the period of validity of the Regional Program».